I Love Freedom & My Country?


Words. Are they empty when spoken? Do they have meaning? Will they inspire action? Several words used together, do they have context. Is there background behind them giving precise meaning? Is there a motive behind them and the speaker? Will those words inspire emotional, favorable reactions? What type of reactions does a group of words inspire? Are they eliciting virtuous actions or violent reactions? If the latter, are they justifiable actions and reactions for violence, to maim bodies or to take human lives and destroy families permanently? Is violence ever a justified attacking maneuver when your target was not violent?

During many U.S. interventions inside unstable foreign nations perhaps in civil revolt/war, where our military branches were deployed as peace-keeping and protective armed forces for the struggling regime/government under attack, our soldiers were/are specifically ordered do not fire/engage unless fired upon or attacked first. In other words, do not return aggression or initiate aggression unless you are first attacked with potential lethal force. A pretty straight forward, simple tactical posture. It is also a posture that for diplomatic (U.N.?) reasons puts your position and military forces in an advantageous, peaceful, above reproach, negotiating posture as well as avoiding the perception of a heinous invading force in the 21st-century. It’s a very good image to the world. How is this passive, peaceful posture overlooked in the United States today by radical, extremist groups seeking violence?

So again I ask, what are words and what do they really mean when spoken? By chanting or screaming “USA, USA, USA,” does that give an American citizen the legal right, or “God-given right” to demean with the intent to outrage others, to vandalize, physically assault, or worse to kill other unarmed, docile and compliant Americans? Not so long ago Japanese Imperial Kōgun and Nazi SS troopers exhibited the same sort of “patriotism” wielded upon unarmed, non-militant citizens. By simply yelling I love freedom and my country, does that self-entitlement to engage in or vilify and behave aggressively as I’ve listed above, or worse do so condescendingly under a guise of freedom and country, give one or a group the right to assault or murder others indiscriminately? Is not that behavior the full-blown antithesis of American values, Lady Liberty, republic democracy, and our entire Constitution and Bill of Rights?

I would hope I do not need to answer those questions, not for decent, peace-loving human beings reading this. Why not? Because I will presume that many or most of you well-educated Americans who attained a high school diploma from our public state curriculums, received passing marks, preferably high marks, in your American government, civics, and history classes through your middle school and high school grade-levels. Yet moreover, all American students should have been prepped prior to those high school Social Studies courses with lessons in Opinion versus Fact, yes? What are the differences of those two words? Which is which, and how, isn’t that correct? I really want to drive home these basic American concepts (presumably) taught to every American student in all 50-states. Yes?

Let’s ask adult Americans in other ways so there is no confusion.

We were supposed to be taught then conduct deliberations with classmates, placed in different groups, comparing, finding similarities, and contrasting what is and is not “fact” and what is and is not “opinion.” Under our nation’s educational standards and applicable curriculums those are/were the introductory lessons before more advanced courses in government, civics, and history. Almost all of our 50-states had/have sufficient-to-above requirements in these critical subjects needed for life in general as ONE student-grad of 331,420,890 (today) other American grads all of whom are essentially living the same life under the same laws, rights, virtues, and duties as any other! Well, that was the plan and theory at least.

The overall trend in eighth-grade civics [2014 scores] has been slow and modest improvements, with perhaps a slight uptick in scores in recent years. Gaps in civics scores remain alarmingly wide.

2018 Brown Center Report on American Education: Trends in NAEP math, reading, and civics scores, june 27, 2018

It’s the guiding premise of equality for all Americans laid out in our U.S. Constitution, protected and supported by tri-equal Branches of federal to state governments, then semblances at the county and municipal level governments, and finally out to public education in school districts in every state. We presumably learned these core principles beginning in primary school and completed them in secondary school. At least that is and has been the purpose of our K-12 public education standards for over seven decades or more. Furthermore, each of us were and are urged, charged to be politically active or better, immersed in our civic privileges. If a political enthusiast pursues a career in public service, then they will be pushed into a 24/7 limelight of media and news. With public service comes a sacrifice of privacy, especially occupational privacy. By default a civil servant, even the POTUS, has to have an exemplary foundation in these three social-political subjects; it is highly recommended, if not required. As a matter of reputation or public image, it behooves an elected government employee to be either a paralegal in Constitutional Law (at minimum) or a board-certified attorney in Constitutional Law with a law firm if their office and its duties are paramount to national security and the daily well-being of Americans.

Only one (1) U.S. President had neither prior public service or practicing law in any capacity, nor any military experience whatsoever before becoming president; that was sadly Donald Trump. He had no governing or relevant job-experience for the Presidency whatsoever! And it showed, horribly.

After events of January 6, 2021, where is America with regard to these guiding principles and standards of good-to-excellent civic knowledge? Were those insurrectionists or any other radical-Right groups in America tagged by the FBI, ACLU, SPLU, and other advocacy organizations, manifest correct U.S. citizenship, education, and civic duties while at the Capital building that January day? Eh, not so much I’m afraid. Not even close. I wish that was not the case, but America… FACT: we are woefully lacking and crumbling from within.

In our near 245-year history there has always been a contingent of the American rebel population who DO NOT adequately or correctly understand American history, government, and civics. And another contingent absolutely distorts and maligns these three domains of American life and principles laid out in the Constitution, supported as well as enforced by its three branches, top to bottom and with subsequent agencies and offices. Case and point, this PBS Frontline trailer:

This hour and a half documentary by one of the nation’s most respected, impartial and elite investigative programs and staff in the U.S. the last 38-years—collaborating with ProPublica and the University California-Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program—uncovers growing movements of domestic terrorist-insurrectionist groups. Today they are more organized and politically armed with highly polarizing, deceitful propaganda (the words) as well as weaponized to attack any perceived opponents. They frequently do not want to differentiate between Friend or Foe. They are no longer a simple menace or nuisance of insignificant persuasion in the U.S. They are now a major threat to real democracy as the FBI and all our country’s law schools and institutions have warned and keep warning today.

The wide open, unregulated internet today is littered with endless social-media (SM) platforms hooking gullible minds into a petri-dish for planting and growing false information. Tech companies which own the internet SM-platforms so far have regularly avoided and denied responsibility for being Accessory to illicit and/or starting criminal movements on their sites. Their internet traffic and activities have connected and enabled via their own “private” platforms the further organization (virtually) of an increasing number of extremist groups the last decade or so.

Nazi accountant Oskar Gröning, c. 1940 (left), 2015 (right)

However, this post will not be examining those profit-driven internet companies. This post will not be about the byproduct these SM-companies have generated: the social, civic-political problems so pervasive, divisive, and misunderstood in our heavily tech-driven America, or Techocracy. Though the subject of this post is clearly linked to our Constitution’s First Amendment, I do not wish to spend any time on First Amendment law and its correct legal interpretations. Should you have interest in learning properly the scope of civil-criminal Accessory, then I highly recommend watching this 2018 film on Netflix, The Accountant of Auschwitz.” Watch it 2-3 times to completely grasp what it means to be a non-participating bystander of a (maiming? lethal? heinous?) crime and do nothing or say nothing to intervene. Not doing or saying anything is also immoral or criminal.

I will, however, mention one pivotal word and its concept and definitions. The definition as well as its embodiment are too often forgotten or unlearned by ordinary Americans and politically-legally incorrect American extremists, like the ones in the above PBS Frontline preview. That word? Defamation.

“Free speech” or the expression of personal law-interpretations does not mean you can say whatever you want in public to someone or to a group and be protected with impunity by the First Amendment. That is an all too common misconception. A verbally slanderous, lying protestor or writer/speaker can actually be sued, tried in court, jailed in 24 different states, and fined in all 50-states in civil court for defamation… in spite of the First Amendment. Regrettably by August 2017 at Charlottesville, VA, to January 6, 2021 those conjured “nuevo individual First Amendment Rights” by these Alt-Right groups moved beyond defamation to physical acts of felony crimes. Those violent far-Righters unknowingly or not, forfeited their Constitutional Rights they were screaming and promoting under false pretenses and ignorance the second they became illegally violent. Granting them that benefit of doubt is probably overly generous and lenient on my part. They are supposed to be arrested, perhaps held in custody for an appropriate time.

For a further elaboration of the correct First Amendment “right to assemble” or protest, click here. For a further elaboration of private vs. public domains (virtual and literal) of free speech within the correct, legal context of the First Amendment, click here. These are two common misconceptions of our Constitution’s First Amendment with regard to 1) the legal right to protest, and 2) the right to free speech, both in relation to media or the internet. That argument and perceived controversy is another blog-post entirely. I want to instead present political words, speeches, campaign rallies, and in this case, forms of black and grey propaganda that has the opposite effect of “freedom and democracy” these radicals scream.

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Four years ago a number of domestic terrorists-insurrectionists groups organized protests culminating in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12, 2017 under the guise of “Unite the Right.” They continued to better organize and grow throughout those four years culminating again January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol under the guise of “Stop the Steal,” of course perpetuated by then departing President Donald Trump. If you have the opportunity, I highly suggest watching this exceptional PBS Frontline program American Insurrection.” It is very well investigated, reported, but disturbingly enlightening for decent, peaceful Americans who know the laws, Constitution, Amendments, and the historical contexts a lot better than these illegal, deceitful, deluded, and homicidal violent extremists. Contrary to what they discharge from their mouths they are not protected in or inspired by our U.S. Constitution as they fraudulently claim. Not in the least. With that said, what I do want to examine closely is the rhetoric these groups, individuals, or leaders use and the conjuration and fallacies behind their words and language.

COMMON RHETORICAL FALLACIES

There are typically three categories of rhetorical fallacies. All of them are abundantly and repeatedly used by both government officials and leaders—yes even U.S. Presidents with no legal education or experience—and political party members and leaders. They are designed to evoke intensely emotional reactions from any gullible listener/reader, sometimes criminal activity. Rhetorical fallacies do not allow open exchanges of ideas upon which productive conversations and solutions occur. Instead they divert the audience’s critical thinking with a variety of one-way pleading ideology at the expense of sound altruistic reasoning. They often misinform an audience of verifiable/verified facts. This ideological language is therefore consumed by unaware, ignorant, ill-informed, gullible and/or bias-confirmation-seeking followers. Those are usually ordinary American citizens who cannot spend the exorbitant time to double-check what the radicals are spewing. But once swallowed then digested the subtle insidious infection spreads to more susceptible consuming hosts. If you are interested in delving into the specifics of common, distorting, deceiving fallacies then click the links below within each of the three groupings. Note that sometimes the below 21 fallacies overlap.

Emotional Fallacies — these manipulate and unfairly appeal to an audience’s emotional triggers. Click here for the seven types with examples.

Ethical Fallacies — the idea that ethical considerations will help solve the problem of free will and that free decisions must be confined to some moral (divine?) standard. Click here for the seven types with examples.

Logical Fallacies — are errors in reasoning and argument that are based on poor or faulty logic. Click here for the seven types with examples.

All three types of fallacies are found in these hate groups. Listening closely and exhaustively to these modern far-Right extremists, their language is loaded with numerous crooked and common rhetorical fallacies. Most of those falsehoods are easily pinpointed. Others must be closely dissected, probed more deeply for the speaker’s/writer’s veiled language based in their background with an aim to reveal the glaring mistakes or flagrant lies.


GANGSTA STYLE — BEING LOUD, PROUD, & TERRIFYING

From Billy the Kid of America’s Wild West, to Bonnie & Clyde and Lucky Luciano of the 1930’s, to Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali (Gambino family) today, the American general public has always had an adoring romance with powerful, egomaniacal, charismatic, hyper-aggressive homicidal Mob-leaders. The total sales, royalties and spin-off merchandizing (past and ongoing) for TV crime shows, movies, and books speak and pander this American palette without doubt. A segment of the American population takes their vicarious fantasies of those past “legends” to the next level: real life. This psychological progression is not far removed from methods of recruitment by well-known militant Islamic terrorist groups targeting malleable new U.S. members. These Alt-Right extremists rarely have any intention of being civil or peaceful when gathering in public to “oppose” other Americans:

Enter Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Patriot Front, Boogaloo Bois, Last Sons of Liberty, American Guard, Rise Above Movement, and the list goes on and on. The above six groups are obscurely defined as “Modern Militia” groups referencing the 1791 Bill of Rights First Amendment concept. Yes, gangsta-style is a textbook M.O. guide to dictatorship and authoritarian rule by fear, violence, then submission. There are plenty, gobs, an endless warehouse full of historical examples of male megalomaniac types who seized power over a people and their lands going back as far as Qin Shi Huang (247-210 BCE) to present day Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Vladimir Putin of Russia; there are no differences between any, past or present. And I can name at least ten others right off the bat, but I will spare your stomachs and hearts of decency.

What should disturb most all decent, humanitarian Americans today, whites included, is that these modern day (violent) militias here inside the U.S. should scare the ba-JEBUS out of all of you. No, our southern border is nowhere close to a “threat” to national security as are these domestic terrorist or semi-terrorist groups and movements.

In this PBS Frontline investigative documentary American Insurrection that aired April 13, 2021, radical-Right militia leader in Virginia, Michael Dunn, frequently stated I love freedom. I love my country and more significantly “We’re the ones crazy enough to actually do something.” Crazy enough? Does that sound civil, wise, calling upon democratic respect, tolerance and understanding with bipartisan collaboration? Yet, on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol they violently kept their proud promise. I have to say, this is eerily familiar to and harkens back to the language of 1942 at the Wannsee Conference in the Wannsee suburb of Berlin, Germany. Watch, from the one and only surviving Nazi dictation-minutes of this conference:

If one has any amount of human decency, of altruism, or an ounce of moral compassion, the language at the Wannsee Conference by all Nazis, Waffen-SS, and Reich Ministry members present… should make you vomit, appalled by such inhumane barbaric insensitivities and arrogance in the modern era.

If radical political groups/movements in the U.S. today are liberally throwing about public language like “I love freedom” and “I love my country,” then it is no real stretch to equate their language to Nazi-SS high-ranking leaders as Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Reinhard Heydrich, Adolf Hitler, and an entire host of other historically recorded barbaric murderers and purveyors of genocide or mass murder. All of those Nazi men essentially said the same sort of rhetoric, “I love our form of freedom” and “I love my country; I will happily lie, steal, and kill for my country” or “we have a serious racial, Jewish, political cancer inside the Fatherland that must be exterminated“… even if doing so is a violation of basic human decency and rights. If you disagree you are a blind fool.

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I think Michael Dunn, Barry Croft, and all other militia minded insurrectionists against our U.S. government members and the Constitution, fail miserably to understand or recognize that under a Republic government with the consent of its people, there is no provision for majority or minority violence… or denial of any legal, peaceful American’s civil rights. None! To borrow from the Koch brothers, strangely ironic here, and their ultra-Conservative, promoted and Koch-funded Bill of Rights Institute, it reads quite clearly on their website:

Majority Rule/Minority Rights: Laws may be made with the consent of the majority, subject to the limitation that those laws do not infringe on the inalienable rights of the minority.

Principles & Virtues – Bill of Rights Institute, accessed April 16, 2021

Mr. Dunn, Mr. Croft, and any other such militant American extremists, I believe it is safe to say and interpret that not to infringe on the inalienable rights of… a minority, majority, or any American person or group who disagree with or challenge in a civil manner your personal political, social, or religious beliefs never gives you the right to become violent. It DOES NOT hint of any right to illegally defame, or criminally hurt or kill them with impunity. No, not at all! Your violence further undermines your wrong and distorted movement. Period! More astoundingly, does this have to be routinely said and explained to Americans and the rest of the world?

What “peaceful assembly” looks like and the First Amendment protects.

After the previous five years, shamefully I guess it does. I know this constant Constitutional principle has been explained, though poorly and inconsistently enforced, since at least the early 19th-century and heard in various ways in the U.S. Supreme Court. A disgraceful fact and track-record America.

Another thing. Contrary to mainstream belief and assumption, the “right to assemble” on public grounds, to protest and petition our state and federal governments on public property is NOT protected if the said assemblies and protests literally turn violent, maiming and/or killing other Americans. As occurred at the 2017 Charlottesville protests, all too often when violence and killing breaks out county, state, and federal law-enforcement too often fail to intervene, protecting those peaceful victims. Or they are ill-prepared to protect peacefully gathering Americans enacting their civil rights.

Time and time again in several cases of our country’s volatile past this lawlessness was due to the personal political bias of local and/or state authorities and law-enforcement—i.e. the march, protest, or movement in question opposed and was adversarial to his or her personal political persuasions. This was despite their sworn legal vow to protect and uphold all county, state, and federal laws and principles as a PUBLIC servant. It does not state to serve your own specifically favored ideals and other “like-minded” public officials. Public means everybody in your precinct, district, or state you represent and serve as well as part of the Union of 50 States of America that your representation is under. Again, “UNDER” the federal jurisdiction of the U.S. government and its present laws, while also respecting state’s rights, of course. But flagrant violations of our Bill of Rights by domestic extremist, militant groups such as the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers, etc, are on the rise. From CSIS, Center For Strategic & International Studies, data tables from 2020:

As I watched in sickly horror the Frontline footage of violence/death in Charlottesville, VA 2017, to Minneapolis, MN, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington D.C. in 2021, I listened to the vitriol language and words of these domestic extremists. What slapped me in the face was the level of distortion and deception they spoke toward and under “patriotic duty” with erroneous extrapolations of our Bill of Rights and Constitution. They were simply attempting to justify their ambitions for violence, or as they’d promote: revolution, akin to our 18th-century thirteen colonies fighting the war against British Imperialism and tyranny.

They could not be more historically, principally, or legally wrong. Not the same. A common rhetorical fallacy and misguided tactic.

Interviewing Barry Croft while in prison—the vice-leader of the Three Percenters militia who attempted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for employing COVID-19 health and safety measures; lock-downs in order to minimize hospital pandemic overruns and save lives—Frontline recorded Croft’s distorted language such as JUNTA and coming into power by force, being ruled by [Biden] an illegitimate authority permissible by Constitutional provisions under militia statutes to act combative as such against fellow Americans. That unorganized militia,” he extrapolates, is absolutely necessary to the security of a free state.” Croft goes on to say later that when you try talking and talking and talking and you don’t get anywhere militant is the obvious, natural progression. That’s it. You leave [me] no choice but to be violent, to maim, or kill other non-violent Americans under the banner of patriotic love of country as did the Nazis for the Fatherland. That is what Croft is implying.

What modern militia leader Mike Dunn of the Boogaloo Bois, a far-Right militant group should do is just openly proclaim his unadulterated hate truth and say “I love MY freedom. I love MY OWN perceived country. But I despise any Americans who do not agree with MY version of a United States of America.” That disturbing mantra is what actually manifests from their Constitutionally distorted, political propaganda spewed to the public, to news agencies, and on social-media networks.

Honestly Mr. Dunn? Seriously? Are those the founding principles, virtues, and spirit of a Constitutional democracy and of total equality in our Republic? I am curious to know the levels of education these leaders attained.

Furthermore, I hope I do not have to answer that rhetorical question. Not to any decent, intelligent, civically-educated and peace-loving American. Please, I beg you my visitors and readers, do not fall prey to these hateful people’s deceptions, distortions, and ill-founded extrapolations of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. They must be opposed, but in civic discourse through appropriate legal means. As a domestic enemy, these leaders and extremist groups are categorically wrong in their actions. They willingly spread the antithesis of correct American Constitutional democracy. They have to be confronted, challenged, and closely monitored no matter how they threaten retribution. Consider what people like Martin Niemöller suffered for his silence and lethargy:

The courage to speak up, to stand up bravely, unflinching to those mislead haters, who use bullying and criminal violence against humanity to control, to dominate by fear and tyranny must be done. They employ mere gangster-tactics. Opposing them must be found, summoned, verbally and actively challenged and opposed, even inside this great country’s borders and in opposition to fellow deluded citizens. Besides, I ask you… when has freedom, liberty, and full democracy ever been a given, a presumed cake-walk in our 245-year history? Never. It has always demanded vigilance, sacrifice, possibly death, duty, and protection, 24/7, 365-days a year since July 4, 1776. Period. Stop. I do not see this good fight ending anytime soon.

A quick word of Texas-cowboy advice. To anyone who chooses to blindly follow and support a leader/boss rather than be an independent, learned, yet cooperative philanthropic, humanitarian and critical-thinker as a team, I tell you this: be then beyond reproach with your privileged sociopolitical wisdom and exceptional cunning, BEFORE you hitch your wagon to a group/person. That goes to any political party-member in America.

LAST QUESTIONS – AN UNAVOIDABLE FINAL SOLUTION?

Last October 2020 while waiting outside my local polling station for early voting for the state and federal elections, I chatted briefly with a military veteran of two tours, one in Afghanistan, one in the Arabian Peninsula. I expressed my gratitude as I often do for his service. We struck up some informal chit-chat regarding his service and our homeland’s fluid political landscape. After a few exchanges of generic comments and jokes about American/Texas politics, the soldier and veteran explicitly expressed his viewpoint and displeasure with how liberal, downhill and “progressive” the country was (supposedly) headed. I grinded my teeth immediately. I took 10-20 seconds telling myself don’t take the bait, not here at the polling location. Keep the moment pleasant, civil, and neutral. In 15-minutes he and I will never see each other again.

Being U.S. Army retired/discharged and as I remember vaguely, part of a battalion based in Georgia somewhere (485th?), this caucasian gentleman, maybe late 20’s or early 30’s, fit and muscular, hinted how very proud he was to be part of a highly patriotic, Get-It-Done and Get-Up-n-Go outfit willing to “fight and die” for this country. I assumed he meant during his tours of duty. But then he mentioned our Texas border problem and “illegal immigrants” crossing over to leach off our great country. I had to bite my tongue 2-3 times hoping the next group of waiting voters like us would be ushered in to the voting machines. Then he said it:

“We true Americans need to stand up to the covert takeover of our democracy, fight for its preservation, kill or be killed like my Unit in Afghanistan.”

— Veteran at Voting-Polling station, Oct. 2020, Dallas, TX

I remained silent as he seemed to wait for my reaction. Then he turned to me and asked Right? as if being a white man in the politically Red-state of Texas made me one of his kind. I pursed my brow and calmly asked him “protect what from whom exactly here at home?” I tried to briefly explain that here in Texas and most of the country there are no domestic combat zones of U.S. enemies; only protestors, marchers, voters, etc, exercising their legal rights to participate in free civil democracy. Soon after I shared my own political stance and viewpoints, I thanked him again for protecting me and my rights to be there voting, freely. It appeared he did not take my genuine gratitude so well.

Would you question he asked boldly my loyalty and love to my country, especially as a former Army soldier and veteran abroad? he said as the brave soldier I’m sure he was. I said no, of course not. I don’t know enough about the rest of your life outside of the U.S. Army. Then I was candid with him. However, with all due respect, if you wrongly perceive other, different American’s basic human ‘inalienable rights’ in light of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and all liberties given to legal American citizens here especially at home, I explained, then I won’t question your volunteered service with our deployed military inside a combat zone and everything that entails and demands of you and your family—truly a noble, honorable service—but I would question your position as a decent, non-military human being on planet Earth in our presumably peaceful, civil democratic nation with fair and legally precise election processes.

I politely grinned at the man. I do remember thinking to myself, “I am truly grateful for all our military service men and women. I’d want him in my squad/platoon I’m sure, if I served in a combat zone.” About that time the volunteer election-worker told us to enter the room of several available voting-machines. The former U.S. soldier and I did not have the opportunity later to speak again. Perhaps that was best, I’m not sure. Was he angrily waiting for me outside?

I have a fantasy. This (fading?) fantasy is that any of our current domestic extremist groups, and all of their passionate members, perfectly recite these words from March 4, 1865, spoken on the same steps the January 6, 2021 insurrectionists-terrorists trampled, vandalized, and murdered a Capital Police Officer:

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish, a just and lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations.

Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address, U.S. Capital Building 1865

I did return home safely, (deep relieved exhale) unharmed that October day last year in my deeply Red, proud Lone Star State. Will the same outcome happen for me and for other law-abiding, reasonable, civically responsible and peaceful Texas-Americans in 2024 and beyond? For a citizen of a once purer Constitutional Republic democracy, I’m unsure the answer for me is certain or guaranteed.



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Country vs City: The U.S. Political Landscape

As the 2020 Presidential election Nov. 3rd dragged on through the night and into the morning, then afternoon of Wednesday with no outright winner, by Thursday, Nov. 5th I noticed something on the various election maps displayed in newscasts on TV, online, and in various political articles of the United States’ two-party system. The color-coded 50-states and various key swing states of Red or Blue, or trending to Red/Blue, and then the many counties within each of those states going Red or Blue, one thing seemed consistent in all of the states.

2020 Presidential Election Map – Nov. 5, 2020 at 12:00pm CST

Just as large Red-Blue maps showed in the elections of 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and then again in 2016 and once again Nov. 4th, 2020 it became clear that for reasons not fully known to me—although I had an educated hypothesis why at the time—most all urban areas, counties, and major cities tended to go and have gone for decades to Democrats (Blue). The rural areas and counties tended to almost always go to Republicans (Red). How interesting.

The distinction is not only stark, but it has also been the evolving political landscape in America for a number of decades (see below slide-show of swing states). Why is that? What is going on with large metropolitan areas and what has gone on in those populations? What has been happening in rural counties? And why do many suburban areas flip-flop between the two parties every 2-4 years? Matt Grossmann at the Niskanen Center in Washington D.C. says “Election maps are showing stark divides between liberal cities and conservative countrysides, advantaging Republicans in our geographic electoral system.” Advantaging Republicans? I wanted to further understand why these clear political demographics have become so predominant, so unmistakable. Here is what I found, the data according to several scholars and political savants explaining population densities and how those densities shift on the political spectrum.

There was another data-set I was also interested in myself, personally, to see what correlations might be shown pertaining to the education levels attained by rural residents, suburban residents, and urban residents. Was there any patterns of education correlating to population densities and political affiliations? What I discovered was also quite stark and unmistakable. But lets first examine the dynamics of population densities and their political alignments.

U.S. Population Densities and Political Divides

Jonathan Rodden is a professor at Stanford University in their Political Science Department. He is a graduate (BA) of the University of Michigan, Fulbright student at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and a post-grad (PhD) in Political Science from Yale University. He works on the comparative political economy of U.S. institutions.

Rodden draws back to unionized industrial railroad hubs, but he finds that today’s growing divisions reflect the changing cultural values of the parties’ new coalitions. Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center finds that U.S. geographic areas are becoming economically and psychologically distinct, with cities concentrating those open to new experience and working in the technology-driven economy and rural areas, retaining those averse to social and economic change. They both find our geographic divide central to contemporary politics, including the election of Donald Trump. Wilkinson says urbanization and geographic polarization help explain where we are today.

In his research at the Niskanen Center Will Wilkinson finds:

…that we’ve failed to fully grasp that urbanization is a relentless, glacial social force that transforms entire societies and, in the process, generates cultural and political polarization by segregating populations along the lines of the traits that make individuals more or less responsive to the incentives that draw people to the city. I explore three such traits—ethnicity, ideology-correlated aspects of personality, and level of education achievement—and their intricate web of relationships. The upshot is that, over the course of millions of moves over many decades, high density areas have become economically thriving multicultural havens while whiter, lower density are facing stagnation and decline as their populations have become increasingly uniform in terms of socially conservative personality, aversion to diversity, and lower levels of education. This self-segregation of the population, I argue, created the polarized economic and cultural conditions that led to populist backlash.

Will Wilkinson,The Density Divide: Urbanization, Polarization, and Populist Backlash,” June 2019 – Niskanen Center, accessed Nov. 4, 2020

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution (1880’s) the American GDP (gross domestic product) has moved from a primarily agricultural economy in the Southern and Midwest states, and a manufacturing economy in the Northeastern states to a much more heavier manufacturing GDP by the end of the World Wars (1918, 1945) and significant decline in agricultural regions. For various economic factors the Midwest states moved more and more from family-owned agrarian farms to buy-outs by large corporate farms such as the six biggest: TIAA-Cref, BlackDirt, Hancock Agricultural Investment Group, American Farmland Company, AgIS Capital, and Gladstone Land Corporation. Over the last century and a half this has contributed to a gradual stagnation or decline in rural America.

By the end of the 1980’s and 1990’s the American job-force and GDP had shifted from a heavy manufacturing economy to one of an information economy and knowledge-based work. This nurtured an increasingly higher job-demand for highly skilled, highly educated workers and a departure from a less skilled, less educated service workforce. This has concentrated our higher economic production counterintuitively. Our shift from agrarian to manufacturing to an information, knowledge-based economy actually facilitated the dynamics we see today: talking and working from hundred of miles away. What is more ironic is that this latest shift did not usher the death of distance or mobilization, it actually amplified the many advantages of clustering highly educated, highly skilled workers together. As Will Wilkinson explains:

…the productivity of better educated workers is augmented more by each new technological development. But the productivity of those people is enhanced yet further by being near other people with similar skill sets.

In other words, many creative, highly skilled, highly educated workers all bumping heads weekly, challenging each other, enhances all aspects of ingenuity, cutting-edge research, and an inspired workforce on most occupational levels. This is less so and a bigger challenge in rural areas where seclusive lifestyles or aversions to diversity, and sheer distance prohibits many social and economic potentials for that community. To be more candid, removing one’s self from constant opportunities to learn, evolve, compete, and engage with those different than you increases ignorance and chances of social-economic extinction.

If you are able to read or listen to the 51-minute podcast on the Niskanen Center’s website hosted by Matt Grossmann (here), then I recommend it. It thoroughly explains at least two contributing factors to the United States’ current polarized politics. Finally, Will Wilkinson surmises two poignant reasons why Donald Trump was able, against all political odds and predictions, to win the Presidential election in 2016. Wilkinson’s last bullet-point is particularly telling:

  • Related urban-rural economic divergence has put many lower-density in dire straits, activating a zero-sum, ethnocentric mindset receptive to scapegoating populist rhetoric about the threat of “un-American” immigrants, minorities, and liberal elites who dwell in relatively prosperous multi-cultural cities.
  • The low-density bias of our electoral system enabled Trump to win the majority support in areas that produce just 1/3rd of GDP and contain less than 1/2 the [U.S.] population.
Education Levels Attained in Rural, Suburban, and Urban America

As I mentioned in my opening paragraphs, with the last five Presidential elections and this one in 2020, all of them have unequivocally shown that with population densities rural counties in America go almost always Republican, and urban counties go Democratic, with suburban counties fluctuating every 2-4 years, I asked What are the highest education levels attained by those resident voters?

In an April 2016 report by the Pew Research Center it found many interesting distinctions between America’s Republican (Conservative) and Democratic (Liberal) voters.

Highly educated adults – particularly those who have attended graduate school – are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades.

[…]

Among adults who have completed college but have not attended graduate school (approximately 16% of the public), 44% have consistently or mostly liberal political values, while 29% have at least mostly conservative values; 27% have mixed ideological views.

Pew Research Center — “A Wider Ideological Gap Between More and Less Educated Adults” April 26, 2016, accessed Nov. 6, 2020. https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2016/04/26/a-wider-ideological-gap-between-more-and-less-educated-adults/

A 2018-2019 Pew Research Center report found that among registered voters in the same period, 41% with post-graduate work identified as Democrat, 37% as Independent, and 20% as Republican. Those registered voters with a four-year bachelor’s degree 34% identified as Democrats, 38% as Independent, and 26% as Republican. By contrast, 2018-19 registered voters with only a high school diploma or less, 34% identified as Republican, 31% as Democrat, and 31% as Independent (click here for report). For a visual correlation of these educational levels versus rural, suburban, and urban counties as well as by state, see maps below.

“Advanced degree” means either 2-years of college or junior college or in a trade school. Compare these two maps to the first map above of Red/Blue states or Republican/Democrat states. Notice the correlations?

What the data has been telling political scientists and sociologists over the last three decades and especially the last decade is that the current political landscape of the United States is clearly divided by not only population density, but by highest education levels attained. To say it another way, one of the most striking patterns in this 2020 Presidential election and the last five is this: a major bipolar divide between white voters with a college degree and those without one.

According to exit polls in the 2018 midterms, 61% of non-college-educated white voters cast their ballots for Republicans while just 45% of college-educated white voters did so. Meanwhile 53% of college-educated white voters cast their votes for Democrats compared with 37% of those without a degree (see tables below). This has played out again in 2020.

Adam Harris, a political and education journalist concludes what I have learned the last 20-years regarding the U.S. political landscape today:

The diploma divide, as it’s often called, is not occurring across the electorate; it is primarily a phenomenon among white voters. It’s an unprecedented divide, and is in fact a complete departure from the diploma divide of the past. Non-college-educated white voters used to solidly belong to Democrats, and college-educated white voters to Republicans. Several events over the past six decades have caused these allegiances to switch, the most recent being the candidacy, election, and presidency of Donald Trump.

The million-dollar question then is Why the leftward shift by higher educated Americans and the rightward shift by lower educated Americans? Well, the jury is still out on that answer, or they are gradually filing in the courtroom these last two or three federal elections. Typically three influencing factors are offered by American political scientists, savants and scholars:

  1. General polarization (Populism?) — Pew Research Center has found that the entire U.S. has become more ideologically polarized due to: distrust in government, racial and religious politics through the 1960’s and ’70’s, and renewed again with police brutality of the last 3-5 years. Also a growing income inequality across the American middle- and lower-classes, the latter not seeing mobility or growth in earnings or minimum wage stagnation in most states. These divisive events and movements inside the U.S. the last 20-years have not significantly changed for a highly educated American consistently engaged in liberal ideologies and institutions. This probably furthers the political chasm.
  2. Women — More women are increasingly entering the workforce and obtaining college and post-grad degrees. They then tend to gravitate to Democratic, liberal ideologies more so than men. This trend may have contributed to higher educated Americans aligning with Democratic values.
  3. Insularity — This condition could be summed up simply as we like our echo-chambers of like-minded people and friends. As Bill Bishop popularized in his book “The Big Sort,” Americans are increasingly clustering with their political, religious, and social circles those ideological bubble-walls are getting thicker. It’s suggested that this is particularly true with the post-grad set. This factor goes back to what Grossmann, Wilkinson, and Rodden above explained and postulated. Reviewing that Niskanen Center podcast above… highly educated Americans in particular seek out jobs that use their highly educated skill sets; it ends up sorting them into more homogeneous communities near and inside urban areas.

The flip-side of this political trend in the U.S. is that the rightward shift by Conservatives and Republicans is in age groups, or generational groups. Pew Research has also found that Baby-boomers, Generation X-ers, and to a lesser degree the “Silent Generation“—Americans born between 1928 and 1945—all of which makeup the bulk of Republican and GOP-leaning members, have shifted more and more to the Right since the 1990’s. Again, why is that?

Pennsylvania ballot-counters with bipartisan Monitors/Lawyers standing watch – 2020 Presidential election

What is unmistaken these last two or three decades in the U.S. political landscape is the increasing lines of geopolitical distinction—Republicans residing mostly in rural counties and with lower educations while Democrats, Liberals, and Independents reside mostly in urban counties with higher education levels by comparison. And for the most part the suburban populations fluctuate, despite a newer (slight) trend that they too are trending a bit more to liberal Democratic ideas.

While it is looking increasingly day by day, hour by hour that former Vice-President Joe Biden will be our next President—as of 4:00pm CST—what are your thoughts about our political landscape to date and the last 20-30 years? Share them below in comments if you feel and so desire. I and my regular followers are interested in the feedback!


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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“Totally Under Control”

This is a dual anecdotal blog-post; one to follow-up my previous post on this new WordPress Gutenberg Block Editor and its immense learning curve for paying subscribers/members like myself, and a blog-post regarding our current political/Presidential and VP campaigns… or rather what I have always considered in election years super hyped-up rhetoric and sensationalizing lip-service by most all elected officials. Therefore, regarding the first anecdote, I began this simple, quick blog-draft at 7:45pm CST. I completely finished this super basic post with no bells and whistles, then published it at 1:05am—over FIVE HOURS LATER—with no interruptions! The bulk of those 5-hours were spent trying to learn and perfect an incredibly sophisticated Editor. That is crazy, stupid, required (wasted?) time with this new Editor for so little catching-presentation and final product! Ridiculous WordPress. Way too complicated for Users who use WordPress as a hobby!

Regarding the second anecdote, our Presidential and VP campaigns and debates would like to tell all Americans that this race between our two parties is about three issues: 1) COVID-19, 2) healthcare, and 3) the consequences of #1 on our economy. No, I say all three combine into ONE: how horribly shitty our nation’s highest leadership had prepared for and managed #1 that directly affected #2 and #3. It is that simple and don’t let political propaganda and typical lip-service rhetoric of our current national leadership deceive you or divert you from that fact! Let’s review.

On January 6, 2020, after many infections, deaths, and signs from Wuhan, China, worldwide and domestic virologists, epidemiologists, scientists, and the CDC informed and forewarned the President of the United States, his administration, and all federal health agencies that the COVID-19 pandemic was coming to America. On January 21, 2020, the very first case of coronavirus arrived near Seattle, WA. This was our President’s reaction:

We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.

President Trump, interview with CNBC, asked about the first diagnosed U.S. case. He said he was not worried about a lethal pandemic.

Unfortunately for thousands and thousands of At Risk Americans, 210,000 deaths and counting, this egotistical indifference by the President is utterly misleading and a catastrophic mistake. And Dr. Taison Bell, M.D. at University of Virginia Health and Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine, puts all the historical facts in place today and what was not done when warned and warned repeatedly in December 2019, January 2020, again in February 2020, and over and over still from March 2020 to the present day. Watch this excellent 30-second portrayal of factual federal apathy and denial (for political reasons) to protect the American public:

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/tV6w/future-forward-usa-action-taison-bell

Now, back to my first anecdote, this damn new Block Editor. I am essentially done here… at least as far as I am concerned. There is more for me to say that Dr. Taison Bell doesn’t poignantly nail in those 30-seconds. It’s now almost 1:10am CST and I have spent way too much time here just trying to post this! Geeezzz. 🤬


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

From Rope to Threads

Well, as much as I’d rather post something more comical, scientific, or spell-bounding intriguing… this quick post will be simply a matter-of-fact report (rant) on current goings-on with me, those around me, and stuff in the U.S. If you were wanting/needing a lift-me-up blog-post, best you go somewhere else this time. I’m a realist as well as a hopeful optimistic realist. 😉

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Dallas, TX has very recently experienced over one week of triple-digit temperatures. Today’s expected high (yesterday’s) was a cool frigid 93º Fahrenheit. A happy respite from the 103-106 temps the other week. Most of those days we were also under National Weather Service “Excessive Heat Warnings” and “Air Quality Alerts.” The latter is basically a warning of high levels of ozone air pollution from man-made machines, factories, and refineries to go along with methane and CO² up there. This also includes dust/dirt in lower strata from heavy construction equipment, state-sanctioned (roads & highways) and/or private-sector contractors everywhere in the DFW Metroplex. That pollution is distinctly worse during windy days.

I watched this afternoon, about 1 or 2pm, out my front window three (3) Dallas Police Officers (all white), in two squad-cars, and one of the onsite property managers remove two different residents from my building who were apparently delinquent on their (daily?) monthly rent. One resident, a male perhaps in his late 30’s, packed up everything he could into his massive backpack and rolling suitcase, more things in bags under one arm, and walk out to the street. He then walked down the street until he was out of sight. He may have continued on to the busy 6-lane intersection a half-mile away, under a state highway bridge, with some 6-8 other homeless people (6-8 on a daily basis that is) holding cardboard signs walking out into and around stopped vehicles.

The other residents, a couple perhaps in their late 20’s, began packing up their little beat up used compact car—which was already quite full with tons of other belongings—eventually evacuated the property under watchful eyes of police and property management. As they left, their vehicle’s exhaust was visibly blue smoke; oil leak(s). I doubt their car would pass the state inspection laws in order to obtain liability insurance, required by law to own and operate a vehicle, assuming of course they owned it and possessed current, valid liability insurance minimums. The last 6-8 months I’ve witnessed these sorts of evictions take place. What is glaringly obvious are the vast numbers of homeless people everywhere on our busy street corners and intersections the last 12-24 months. It’s impossible to not notice.

This past week I’ve tried to help this neighbor three doors down. About 2-weeks ago his compact vehicle had a major breakdown. Jumper cables didn’t help. A tow-truck came to haul it off to some repair shop. His only source of income is his job as a Lift/Uber driver. He pays his rent week to week, for obvious reasons. Yesterday I drove him 8-miles to the shop his car was being worked on. It’s in a “sketchy” part of town at a very rundown business building of many old used vehicles scattered everywhere outside. They fill-up the make-shift parking lot.

When he returns to my car where I’m waiting—to make sure his car REALLY IS fixed/ready—with an obvious down-trodden face he tells me There’s a snag, a hangup. Can you wait a bit longer? I tell him of course. Ten minutes later he returns with all of his belongings to go straight to work, and tells me the part that was sent to them had stripped threads. He soon told me with an upset tone that he’s sure THEY (the shop) fucked-up the refurbished replacement part. I must take him back home… without his vehicle (for income). This foul-up has now cost him another full-day of income, making it the 5th day without making money. Today, to help him out at least a tiny bit, I go to the management office and pay for one night on his room/place. That’s all I could afford given my own strapped situation.

I literally just received the THIRD Amber Alert in as much as 7-9 days! This doesn’t count the significant increase in Amber Alerts we’ve had in Texas so far just these last 7.5 months! They’ve been going off noticeably more ever since COVID-19 quarantines and businesses and schools shutdown. By the way, that also includes most daycares for working Moms or Dads.

As many of you know, I am a sports fan, particularly a soccer/football fanatic. If any of you in the U.S. are sports fans as well, you know painfully that ALL of our professional and collegiate sports seasons have either been cancelled, postponed, or undetermined. As a result and for the first time in my entire life, I have become a semi-fan of the South Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), watching a few games at 4:35am… because most of this spring and summer there has not really been any other sports viewing-choices right now or there hasn’t been in the U.S. for several months! And I’ve NEVER liked baseball until my son got into it seriously at age 10 over nine years ago. Pfffft, KBO? Seriously!?

If any of you have followed the current American MLB shortened season going on, its season and teams are an organized mess because of COVID-19 infections popping up in at least 4-5 different team’s club houses at different times. The New York Yankees just had 1-2 games postponed because of positive CV-19 tests. More postponements or cancellations might be happening. The entire league’s 60-game season it is said will have a HUGE asterisk attached to it and its October World Series (if it happens?) because of this unprecedented time America and Americans are going through.

I watched two interviews over the past 2-3 weeks that I thought were poignantly revealing summaries of what our country has been put through. Sadly, it did not need to be this bad, not even close! Had our federal leadership heeded all the warnings coming from all the domestic and global experts back in Dec. 2019 thru mid-February 2020, this continuing crisis could have been shortened SIGNIFICANTLY and with much less economic tragedy. But then it happened again this past May over Memorial Day weekend and in another spike July… over 4th of July celebrations and holidays. Here’s what wealthy mogul and former Microsoft owner Bill Gates said about the handling of this pandemic by our federal government and leadership:  Bill Gates on GPS: “Testing insanity” is unique to U.S.

The other interview was by Christiane Amanpour of PBS with former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. It is well worth the 3-minute watch, I promise.

Personally, I have been COVID-tested twice now because both times I was experiencing 6 of the 11 symptoms for the lethal virus. Fortunately, both results were negative. But my last CV-19 test, inside Dallas County (one of the worst hot spots in Texas) took almost 5-weeks to return a result. The only reason my two results have been negative is because #1) I stay at home alone as much as possible. #2) because since early March I have social-distanced like an OCD MoFo, I wear a mask anytime I go out in public, I wear rubber gloves when I go into any places of business doing my BASIC shopping for essential items and/or grocery store items. And #3), if I don’t get out of my vehicle, that’s because I’ve shopped online for curbside delivery done by only ONE worker to my car… that is, a car parked over 8-10 feet away from any other vehicle!

And yet, after near 7-months of this consistent distancing, preparation, and wise, considered caution anywhere I go… this has become a change from “doing well enough” in April 2020, to making things tighter and stretching out longer in July 2020—going from a stabilized ship in a horrible storm at sea—to grasping for ropes to cling to as the HMS Titanic goes down, and to now desperately seeking THREADS that might hold me above the surface of a self-created (by my nation & its leaders) Level-5 hurricane I and everyone around me are getting sucked into. And yet there’s more.

Day before yesterday I ran out of one of my two high blood-pressure meds. When I requested the pharmacy to contact my primary care physician’s office for the refill, the next day they called back stating his office denied my request. I know why. I haven’t gone to have my blood lab-work done yet. It costs me $135 (no insurance) to have it all done, plus the tele-visit or video-visit with the doctor to initiate it. Plus on top of that the cost of the generic prescriptions. It’s money I do not currently have because of several other pressing priorities due to COVID-19 affects and consequences on businesses.

Oh well, hopefully life gets better for everyone and reduces hypertension and high blood-pressure—that if chronic, inevitably leads to heart disease and other medical problems. HAH! 😆 That’s a subject Dr. Sanjay Gupta covered in his extensive 1-hour documentary on HBO called One Nation Under StressIn the documentary Dr. Gupta uncovers the root causes of why American life expectancy, that is primarily Caucasian’s life expectancy, is falling and is now shorter than all other major developed countries. It is a disturbing revelation of our nation’s true health. Here’s the trailer:

So what’s the rub? Can we Americans make it until November 4-5? Can we survive with minimal casualties in this raging, unforgiving storm/hurricane of a crisis that could’ve been lessened significantly, probably avoided in many ways? Because this pandemic virus has affected and infected so many socioeconomic and healthcare sectors and lives, that not even I could’ve anticipated, it could get much worse and last much longer! And I am a HUGE nerdy science guy who tries his utmost to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But this shit is going to outlast even my own predictions back in February. I told everyone then this pandemic and its ripple-effects would last till late-August or early-September before a downward trend and gradual respite occurs. It appears my prediction is coming up wrong and well short. 😔😷

I wonder… how in THA HELL did our Greatest Generation (of America) do it for well over 5-6 years during World War II  on top of coming out of the Great Depression!? Holy crap they must of been truly “E plurabus unum” (like superhero MoFos)… like we stamp on all of our coinage. HAH! Is it really a United States of America rather than a DISunited States of America, “One nation, under stress, and very divided!” as our new revised Pledge of Allegiance the last 4-years might be uttered today? Other nations around the world handled and managed the pandemic SO MUCH BETTER than the U.S.! That’s undeniably true.

Ugh, my rant is done. Tired I am. Everyone keep being safe, being well, and safely distanced. Try to keep going and hang in there! I hope I can too. 🙄

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

P.S. One last thing. Have I ever expressed my rising annoyance with most everything electronic, internet, streaming, or WiFi-based over the last decade or more? And with that near boiling-point annoyance of said electronics I am quickly approaching the brink of ‘going postal.’ Have I expressed that? And how many times all my electronic devices I have ever owned (especially the last 10-12 years!) get overly spammed, hacked, and breakdown into some cyber-neurotic psychotic tantrums after ONLY 24-months from their purchase? Then I am forced to purchase a new cutting-edge “newer” device. Imagine that!

Does anyone else experience this incredibly frustrating, cyclical consumer entrapment on a society addicted to an electronic-everything world? Just a passing thought.

I really miss those days (in the 80’s and 90’s) when items, machines purchased would last a good 10-15 years, easily. Now, most mega-corporate business models are structured to generate what they call “perpetual revenue” and repeat consumers that appease, gratify share-holders for many quarterly P&L reports. Ugh, I so love hyper-capitalism.

That last sentence was extreme satirical sarcasm by the way. 😠

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Some Chicken Soup

It might be a tiny consolation to intelligent college-degreed Americans that tRump did not win decisively the U.S. popular vote Nov. 8th. As of 12:45pm CST today it was 48% to 48%. But that will not change what has begun happening for the next 4-years.

Let me first preface my initial thoughts. I am a political Independent who thoroughly evaluates ALL candidates and their background, experience, and track-record. I pay no attention to public campaigns and even less attention to the media-TV propaganda circus. Using websites like ProCon.org and other non-profit 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charities that provide well-sourced pro, con, and related research enabling what I think are very well-informed decisions. That said…

If you thought Hillary Clinton’s blunders in Washington D.C. were indications of serious character flaws for the Oval Office or how well or poorly to handle affairs in our nation’s capitol, on Capitol Hill, and out in the daunting international arena… we have just elected an immature 70-year old racist-misogynist with 1) a less-than-poised-mouth President, 2) with absolutely NO GOVERNING EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER running the affairs of one of the world’s biggest, most influential nations in 3) extremely diverse global affairs with 4) a Congress that Constitutionally controls one-third of the total power between the three branches — 5) which is an entirely DIFFERENT beast than the private sector — of which 6) this man also has ZERO EXPERIENCE doing, ever!!! Now riddle me that!?

At least our Constitutional checks and balances are one more consolation for me and most definitely for our foreign allied nations and neutrals that are in as much dumb-founded shock as I am.

colin-powell-hrI like to consider myself a calm, reasonable man with above-average capability for critical-thinking skills, appropriate de-escalation methods — from my years in the Psych/A&D and Crisis treatment field — college-degreed with additional 18-hours graduate studies, and a deep passionate fondness for history and social sciences resulting in 5-years of general and Special Ed public teaching. This is why I have a high respect and admiration for retired 4-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is the consummate embodiment of stoic diplomacy coupled with first-hand experience in war and world conflict. What I admire most about the esteemed Colin Powell is how he conducted himself during America’s most polarized tumultuous times:  Vietnam, the invasion of Kuwait & subsequent First Iraqi War, and 9/11. If those three “tests” were any indication and model of how to manage diplomacy, politicians, and the dynamics of crisis, then Powell passes with stellar excellence! Magna Cum Laude, if you will. Two of many of my favorite Colin Powell quotes…

“Experts often possess more data than judgment.”

“Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.”

What is further mind-boggling to me is that Colin Powell, though technically a Moderate, aligned himself politically with the Republican party — why was the G.O.P. unable to find anyone in 2014-16 resembling or somewhat-resembling the experience and exemplary poise of Powell(?), even someone with just HALF of his Capitol Hill savvy anywhere in this nation of 325-million!? Here is a very good Sept. 2016 New York Times article by Michael Shear about what Powell thinks of our two main Presidential candidates (Click here). I think Powell is spot on, knows what he is saying, and has the experience to back it up. Period.

Finally, what I will never be able to wrap my head around is how an American “democracy” gave tRump enough support (only 48%) to cause our Electoral College to actually put this no-experience-whatsoever man into the White House. Maybe this short video will help explain to the rest of the world how this happened. Click the link below…

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000004757868/the-electoral-college-explained.html

Or maybe that doesn’t help at all and only confuses our allies and neutrals.

I do know this for those of you in foreign countries, those delegates in the Electoral College are our previously elected House Representatives and Senators from our 50 states, who are representative of our state’s two bipartisan parties and lesser extent third parties. But these “delegates” don’t get into office without being first elected by registered voters in their respective state. In other words, some/much of what happens or doesn’t happen on the Federal level hinges on what informed, or less-informed, or ignorant registered voters do and don’t do (i.e. active, inactive, or unregistered voters) on the municipal, county, district or precinct, and state levels FIRST!

Ultimately, there are only six groups to praise or blame for the U.S.A.’s political Electoral College success or failure (e.g. Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon, respectively):

  • Well-educated, well-informed registered ACTIVE voters
  • Well-educated, well-informed registered INACTIVE voters
  • Poorly educated, poorly informed registered ACTIVE voters
  • Poorly educated, poorly informed registered INACTIVE voters
  • Well-educated, well-informed unregistered voters
  • Poorly educated, poorly informed unregistered voters

Naturally, the origins and causes of the above six American groups are an entirely different discussion and personal blog-post for which I currently have no desire nor energy to write. But hey, we all now have 4-years to think about and deal with it. This is the bed we’ve made for ourselves, now we must sleep in it.  — says with sad dejection

Chicken soup anyone?

(paragraph break)

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